Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Birth Story

Friday March 7th at around 3:30 a.m. I woke up to a gushing of fluid and thinking it may be my water I went to the bathroom to check. It wasn’t my water, but a thick clear discharge. I went back to bed and was trying to get some sleep when I noticed that I was getting sharp period-like cramps that came on strong and then went away. This was much different than before when I had constant cramping, so I decided to start paying attention to when they came. They started out at about 10 minutes apart, then 7-8 and around 5 am I tapped Dave on the head and told him, “I think something is going on. This might be it.” Between 5-6 am my contractions were about 5 minutes apart so we decided to call the doctor. Doctor Vance called us back and told us that we should get our things ready and head to the hospital. Dave had already begun to get things ready to go before the doctor even called back! You could say that he was just a tad excited. That car ride to the hospital was a strange one. At the time, we kept telling ourselves that it was probably nothing and they were going to send us home to wait even longer for our baby girl. I was hoping that I would have her on the 8th because 8 is my favorite number and Dave kept saying, “Yeah, but 7 is a lucky number.”

We got to the hospital around 6:30 and we are checked into labor and delivery. I put on my beautiful hospital gown and got hooked up to the monitors. We settled in and began watching the contractions on the computer screen. They were not very big and I began to get upset thinking this is false labor and I will be going home yet again without my baby girl. Doctor Bob came in and introduced himself. He is the hospital doctor and will be helping Dr. Robinson (my doctor). He says he is going to check me and see where I am at and then in 2 hours he will be back to check me again. If there is any progress they will admit me, if there isn’t then they will send me home. He checks me and I am 1cm dilated and 60% effaced. The exact same thing I was at 35 weeks. He walks out and disappointment sets in. I have been having strong contractions for 3 hours now with no change and the contractions are hardly showing up on the monitors. I began to cry from the frustration. Dave was nothing but supportive, telling me that maybe I will progress in the next two hours. I tell him not to hold his breath. Right then I felt a huge gush of fluid and I began thinking it may be my water breaking. I told Dave to look down there and see what it looked like and it was a huge amount of blood. I began panicking and Dave went to grab the nurse. She tells me this is my “bloody show” and then tells me that this is not a “gush”, not even close. She also says that possibly when Dr. Bob checked me he pulled out the rest of my mucus plug. Around 9:30 Dr. Robinson comes in to check me and I am now a good 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced! Since there was some progress, he said he was going to go perform a c-section and when that is over he would come back and check me again. Now we were super excited thinking, “Please let there be some sort of change!” I called my mom at work to let her know what was going on and that if I’m admitted Ill call her right away. We were supposed to be at the doctors for a check-up at 7:40 and I told my mom I would call her to let her know how it went. Boy was she surprised when I called her from the hospital instead! She told me to call as soon as I knew anything. A little before 11am Dr. Robinson came back in from the c-section and checked me again. This time I was 2.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced. It wasn’t much but since I was still progressing he asked me if I wanted to stay. I screamed, YES! He said that he could send me home, but I would probably be back soon anyway so to go ahead and admit me and get things going by breaking my water and getting me started on pitocin. He walked out of the room and Dave began jumping up and down. This is it! No turning back now! Kensley would be here before the end of the day probably!

We called my mom, Dave’s mom, my aunt Kathy, my grandma, my best friends Sarah and Danielle and Dave called work to tell that he wouldn’t be in and then we walked over to our new room. This is when the nurse told us that we would be having a snow baby. Apparently there was a winter snow storm coming in and it was going to be ugly. Leave it to my baby to show up on the worst weekend of the year so far. When we walked into our room, the first thing I noticed was the complete white-out outside. You couldn’t see a thing. I guess we can be grateful Dr. Robinson didn’t send us home in that. We met our nurse, Trish, who just so happens to be the most amazing woman ever. I fell in love with her instantly. She was probably in her 60’s and reminded me of my grandma. She just told you like it is and was really straightforward but funny. She told me she was going to start the pitocin and explained what that would do. Dave left to go out to the car and bring in all of our stuff. Family and friends began showing up. Around 3:30 Dr. Robinson came in and checked me and I was 3 cm dilated. I was really beginning to feel the contractions at this point and my whole family was sitting there telling me when one was coming on. Dave sat and held my hand and talked me through each one. Not too long after this Trish told me that I might as well go ahead and have the epidural. She assured me that it would not slow down the labor, if it did they would give it to everyone in preterm labor and then send them home, and it would make me much more comfortable. I agreed, and everyone was told to leave for about 30 minutes. My anesthesiologist came in and we got ready for the epidural. My bed was jacked up and wouldn’t lay flat so my spine was curving. Because of this, she kept hitting my spinal column and it was sending a sharp shooting pain down my back. I began crying at one point, probably from all the nerves, (and the thought of being paralyzed forever) and I remember I kept apologizing for the crying. The anesthesiologist was super sweet and told me she felt awful because she made me cry and had me apologizing to her. She had to take it out and do it again before she actually got it in. I was starting to wonder if she was going to get it in or not, and if I was going to have to go through childbirth naturally. I was so relieved when she finally got it in. The epidural was the strangest feeling I have ever felt in my life. You can definitely feel pressure inching its way down your back, but it wasn’t painful. I think the fact that I was so nervous made it harder to bear. Almost immediately I felt better and within 15 minutes I couldn’t feel any more contractions. Dr. Robinson came back in and broke my water, which was the huge “gush” my nurse warned me about, it went all over the floor and my bed and it kept coming and coming! He also inserted an internal fetal monitor on Kensley (which I was not happy about) and an internal monitor for me, because surprisingly the monitors on my stomach where not picking up my contractions at all and that’s why it looked like I wasn’t having any. He had my nurse insert a catheter to drain my bladder and then family was allowed back in.

After that my labor progressed pretty quickly. They told me that getting to 5cm is the longest and hardest part of labor and then it usually progresses pretty quickly after that. I just happened to progress by the hour- 3cm at 3:30, 5cm at 5, 6cm at 6 and 7cm at 7. And that’s when it all stopped. After 7 I stayed at 7cm. They had me laying on my right side (they have you switch back and forth sides because the epidural works by gravity) and the nurse asked me if Id like to move onto my left side. I told her I was fine. I should have moved. A short time later I began to feel contractions on my left side. Just my left side. I had been laying on my right side for too long and the epidural had drained to that side. They were getting terribly strong and I had to really focus to breathe through them. The nurse moved me to my left side and the anesthesiologist came back in and gave me another shot of pain medication. In about 10-15 minutes I was feeling better. Dr. Robinson checked me again around 9 p.m. and Im still at 7cm. He begins to tell me that if I don’t make a change soon, we will have to start thinking about a c-section. At this point I don’t even care what it takes to get her out. Im exhausted. Ive been up since 3:30 that morning and the recent stretch of contractions really drained me. I told Dave later on if I would have progressed, there is no way I could have pushed. I had no energy left. About this time the nurse comes in and tells me I need to go back on my right side because while im laying on my left, Kensley’s heart rate was dipping slightly. She told me that Kensley was pressed up against the placenta. So back to my right side I go. AND THAT’S WHEN THE WORST PART OF THE WHOLE LABOR BEGAN. The contractions came back, and with a vengeance. They were long and hard and strong and I could feel them building up, and lasting forever and then going down slightly before starting again. I was holding Dave’s hand and crying and trying to breathe my way through them. It was awful.

At 11 p.m. Dr. Robinson checks me and I am still at 7cm. And we decide to go ahead with the c-section. Im a mixture of relief, exhaustion and stress because now we are dealing with surgery and longer recovery time. But I just wanted to do whatever was best for the baby, and the idea of a c-section wasn’t foreign to me since all of my family and most of my friends have had them. They switch my meds and turn off the pitocin. They tell Dave to get ready and then my mom and grandma give me a kiss before they wheel me down the hall. I get into the operation room and Im FREEZING. My teeth were chattering so bad I could hardly talk. They threw some warm blankets on me and I felt a little better. Dr. Bob then informs me that he has to shave me “down there” and I make a joke about no lightening bolts and he didn’t get it. Im laying there being prepared for what seems like forever when Dave finally comes in. I ask him if he can see what is going on, but he tells me the Dr is in the way. Suddenly I became completely dehydrated and kept thinking how I could really use a glass of water...I wonder if this nice nurse would give me water…I hope I get some ice chips in recovery etc. I could smell something burning and I felt some pressure and before I knew it they told me her head was out! They really had to push hard because her shoulders were so wide and when the doctor was really pushing I felt like I might throw up. But just a few seconds later she was out! I heard Dave tell me she had lots of hair and a huge conehead. The conehead thing surprised me because I hadn’t pushed at all, but being stuck at 7cm for so long caused her to have a conehead and a huge bump on her head. We later found out that she was "sunny side up" facing towards the ceiling and thats what caused the bump on her head and the reason why I never progressed past 7cm. That and the fact that she weighed 8 lbs, she would never have came out any other way). Kensley Brittann was born on Friday March 7th at 11:42 p.m. She weighed 8 lbs and was 19 ¼ inches long. Dr. Robinson leaned her over the curtain and I saw this slimy unhappy baby. I heard her crying just a little as they cleaned her and checked her. I heard someone say she got an 8 and then a 9 on her APGAR test. Then Dave brought her over to me and I really saw her for the first time. It was absolute love at first sight and she looked exactly like her daddy, just like I knew she would! They wheeled me into recovery and Dave and Kensley followed. I got to watch her being measured, weighed, cleaned and poked before they finally handed her to me. Our family finally got in to see her around 1:30 am.

Sitting here now writing this, I really couldn’t be happier with the way everything went. Im so glad we got to have the excitement of going into labor at home, the fact that our doctor let us stay, (Since we got a record 19 inches of snow that weekend! And it would have been terrible to go home and have to come back in all that mess. We missed the whole ordeal!), that I got an epidural when I did and the fact that I ended up getting a c-section which wasn’t bad at all. I felt really good immediately after the c-section and I am so glad our hospital let Kensley and I be together at all times. I am so happy with everything. Even the bad parts were not too bad, and in one of those early mornings when I was holding Kensley in my arms, and I was smelling her sweet scent and listening to her heartwarming coos, I told myself instantly, “Id do it all over again tomorrow!”

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